Sunday, March 06, 2005

Remember the Alamo

On this day, the Alamo fell after 12 days of seige.

According to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the chronology goes like this:

February 3 - William Barret Travis and a small group of reinforcements arrive at the Alamo, then under the command of James C. Neill.

February 8 - Former Tennessee congressman David Crockett arrives at the Alamo with a group of volunteers.

February 12 - With the departure of Neill, Travis is elected commander of the regular army forces at the Alamo, while Jim Bowie is chosen to lead the volunteers.

February 23 - The Mexican army under Antonio López de Santa Anna reaches San Antonio. The Texian force retreats into the walled Alamo compound.

March 1- Thirty-two men from Gonzales join the besieged forces at the Alamo.

March 2 - Texas Declaration of Independence is approved by delegates meeting at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

March 6 - The attack upon the fortified Alamo begins before dawn. When the fighting ends, all of its occupants other than women, children, and Travis' slave Joe, are dead. Losses to the attacking Mexican army are estimated to be at least 600.

Not quite 200 Texians died.

The Alamo is almost synonomous with courage.

“If we succeed, the country is ours. It is immense in extent, and fertile in its soil and will amply reward our toil. If we fail, death in the cause of liberty and humanity is not cause for shuddering. Our rifles are by our side, and choice guns they are, we know what awaits us, and are prepared to meet it.”

Letter from Daniel William Cloud of Kentucky, en route to San Antonio, dated Dec. 26, 1835.

This looks more like a resource acquisition gamble to me.

Still, it takes courage, even to steal.

The mythic story of the Alamo actually took off after World War I. It was the product of good advertising by the San Antonio City Fathers, help from the large military presence in San Antonio, and of course Walt Disney. Before then, it was a deteriorating historical mission in the city center.

I can still see Davey fighting those ever charging Mexicans with the butt of his rifle as the movie fades into smoke and glorious music.

John Wayne was a good Davey too.

And who didn't love Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie.

The most recent version wasn't so much bad as it was pointless.

I know a pretty famous baseball coach who took his team to the Alamo and he had them put their ears to the walls. Then he asked them, "what do you hear?" The boys looked at the coach like he had gone a little daft.

There is courage in these walls, he said.

Listen for it, feel it, and let that courage come into your being, I imagine him saying.

Remember the Alamo is a line that we all remember.

Here, a ragtag bunch of insurgents held off a superior force for 13 days.

The superior force lost three times more men than the insurgents.

Courage is a remarkable thing in the animal kingdom.

It is even more remarkable in humans.

We need it to face our enemies,

and our selves.

We need it to defend

our rights.

And we need it to speak out

against our wrongs.

As Thomas Jefferson said,

One man with courage is a majority.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Courage- "We need it to face our enemies, and our selves." I agree, we use it to correct the flaw of being human.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent ideas for recalling this historic date in our state's history. Thanks, Oz,

10:47 AM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

I recall the Magnolia Oil Company comic book of Texas history that we got in the sixth grade. "Me no Alamo! Me no Goliad."

5:45 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

The links in this post carry the undermeaning. Remember Falluja.

10:50 AM  

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